A Salty Piece of Land Study Guide

A Salty Piece of Land

A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffett

A Salty Piece of Land is a 2004 novel by Jimmy Buffett. The book follows Tully Mars after his breakup with his girlfriend, Donna Kay. After sailing with Captain Kirk to Punta Margarita, he becomes a guide at The Lost Boys resort. His laid-back lifestyle is rudely interrupted when Donna comes by and tells him she's getting married. Eventually Tully meets a 101-year old Cleopatra Highbourne, the captain of a boat, who takes him to Coyo Loco, a tiny island, to fix up a lighthouse that will be her grave.

A Salty Piece of Land Book Summary

Plot details

This book picks up where the story Take Another Road from the novel Tales from Margaritaville left off. Tully Mars breaks up with his girlfriend, Donna Kay, a waitress from the Chat 'N' Chew restaurant in Heat Wave, Alabama. In the previous story, he sent her a winning lottery ticket and asked her to meet him in Belize City, a date which he failed to keep.

He sails with Captain Kirk, the captain of a shrimp boat, to a mythical place known as Punta Margarita, where he becomes a fishing guide at a local resort, The Lost Boys, named after characters in Peter Pan (a lost childhood is a common theme among Buffett works). He begins to settle into a life of leisure, fishing and drinking with his Mayan friend Ix-Nay, but his world is soon turned completely upside down when Donna Kay shows up on a pink seaplane and tells him that she's getting married to Clark Gable, a master horse trainer featured in the previous story.

He leaves Lost Boys to take a few days off after this experience, and drunkenly falls asleep on the beach, where he is robbed in his sleep. When he wakes, a 140-foot schooner, the Lucretia, is anchored nearby. When the captain, feisty 101-year-old Cleopatra Highbourne, comes ashore, they strike up a friendship immediately and Tully is offered a job as part of the crew. Initially, he turns down this offer, but after run-ins with two bounty hunters from Wyoming, where he has outstanding warrants, he finds himself on her ship just the same. It is at that point that she takes him to Cayo Loco, the salty piece of land referred to in the book's title, which is a small mythical island that is home to an old-fashioned lighthouse. Cleopatra puts Tully to work fixing up the ruin, as she intends the island to be her final resting place.

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